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We take a runner-by-runner look at Saturday's Group One feature on the final day of the July Meeting at Newmarket, the July Stakes.

2017 JULY CUP SELECTION – CARAVAGGIO (11/10, Bet365)

The highlight of Saturday’s top-class racecard on day three of the Newmarket July Meeting, the Group One July Cup goes to post at 4.35pm as the penultimate race of the afternoon at Flat HQ.

The Group One sprint is shaping up to be one of the races of the season as defending champion Limato takes on Champion Stakes winner The Tin Man as well as flying three-year olds Caravaggio and Harry Angel in what is sure to be a furiously run contest between some crack sprinters.

A field of ten goes to post for the Saturday highlight, which boasts a first-prize in excess of £280,000 for the six-furlong dash along the July Course, and Brian Healy assesses the big-race field for the day’s feature.


Brando (25/1, Paddy Power) heads the racecard order, and Kevin Ryan’s charge looked a progressive sprinter last term, winning three times which included the Ayr Gold Cup where he beat Growl by just over one length, having earlier added a Group Three success at Sandown to his win record.

Not disgraced in starts inbetween behind Mecca’s Angel, including when ninth in the Nunthorpe, the Pivotal gelding rounded off his season with an excellent third to The Tin Man in the Champion Sprint at Ascot, and he resumed winning ways on his return to action over the Rowley Mile with a defeat of Ornate to land the Abernant Stakes.

Clearly amiss when trailing in last of twelve behind Tasleet in the Clipper Logisitics Stakes at York, he nevertheless faces  a stiff task here following a break; while entitled to run well, he will most likely find a couple of these too good for him.

Growl (40/1, Bet365) took his form to a new level last term for Richard Fahey having become disappointing for Brian Meehan, and the Oasis Dream gelding won three times, which include a Listed win at Doncaster.

Runner-up to Brando in the Ayr Gold Cup, he subsequently beat that rival when the pair finished behind The Tin Man at Ascot in the Champion Sprint; but he ran no sort of race at Sha Tin in the Hong Kong Sprint in December, and in three runs this term he has been disappointing.

He unseated at the start of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he was 40/1 for that race having finished down the field in both earlier starts and he is hard to fancy here on those efforts.

Intisaab (100/1, Paddy Power) is a smart hold-up performer at his best who made hay last term, posting three wins as well as a string of in-the-frame efforts in competitive handicaps.

A defeat of Lexington Abbey at York on his final start of the campaign was added to on his return to action at Ripon where he beat the useful Muntadab, although subsequent efforts were a shade disappointing.

However, he bounced back to form to go close in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle latest, looking to have pinched the race before being collared by Koropick late on. A solid performer around that level, this demands considerably more from the Elnadim gelding who faces a herculean task to win this race taking on proven Group One performers.

Mr Lupton (66/1, Bet365) is capable of very useful form, as he showed last term when winning at York in the York Charity Sprint; although he failed to add to his tally he was set some stiff tasks, but he ran well for fifth behind Quiet Reflection at Haydock in the Group One Haydock Sprint Cup prior to finishing down the field behind The Tin Man at Ascot.

In decent heart this term, scoring over the Rowley Mile in May prior to a Listed third at Windsor, he was disappointing behind Eqtiraan at Salisbury last month when beating only two home in the Cathedral Stakes, and this much tougher contest demands significantly more from the Elnadim gelding.

The Tin Man (6/1, William Hill) has developed into a top-class sprinter last term, building on his fourth to Muhaarar in the previous season’s Champion Sprint to win three of his five starts last term, which included that race on his final outing.

Also a Group Three winner at Newbury, he went close behind Quiet Reflection at Haydock, possibly just unsuited by the softer ground. Conditions again might have been to blame for his fifth to Tasleet at York on his return, but he stepped up markedly to beat that rival and Limato in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, although he was arguably lucky to keep the race having crossed Henry Candy’s runner in the scrap to the line with that rival and Tasleet.

James Fanshawe’s charge is sure to be in the thick of the action again with the ground at the July Course no issue, although whether he can uphold that form with his Ascot rivals is debatable.

Tasleet (8/1, William Hill) meanwhile has improved for the application of cheekpieces, and the progressive Showcasing colt isn’t without hope of reversing Ascot form with James Fanshawe’s runner.

A Group Three winner last term on the all-weather, he ran just once more when down the field behind Aclaim in the Challenge Stakes; but he has returned this term in good health, finding only Home Of The Brave too strong on his return at Leicester, but producing a fine effort to land the Clipper at York next time.

Only beaten a neck behind The Tin Man at Ascot, he contributed to the interference suffered by Limato by hanging into that rival; but he rates a live player if building on that run, and William Haggas’ charge is no forlorn hope.

Classy Limato (5/1, Sky Bet) has thrived since being dropped to sprint trips, winning this contest impressively twelve months ago, and then chasing home Mecca’s Angel over an inadequate trip in the Nunthorpe next time.

The Prix De La Foret was his next prize, scoring by three lengths over Karar; but he failed to see out the trip at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on his final outing of the campaign.

The ground went against Henry Candy’s star at Meydan in the Al Quoz, but he had physical excuses there as he suffered a back injury; and he may just have needed his return when squeezed out at Ascot behind The Tin Man and Tasleet.

Sure to come on for that run, he is reunited with Harry Bentley for this contest, and he can put up a bold show in defence of his crown.

That crack trio are all expected to feature prominently at the business end of the race, but they could well struggle to give 6lbs to the hugely exciting CARAVAGGIO (11/10, Bet365) who can extend his impressive winning streak to seven successes.

Aidan O’Brien has described the Scat Daddy colt as the quickest he has ever trained, and while a crack at the 2000 Guineas failed to materialise, it was perhaps a good move to keep the Ballydoyle runner to sprint trips given the way he demolished rivals with his raw speed in four starts last term, which included a four lengths romp in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.

Better for the run when successful at Naas on his return to action, beating Psychedelic Funk to win the Lacken Stakes, he overcame a poor position in the Commonwealth Cup to brush aside Harry Angel and Blue Point to win that Group One contest in good fashion.

He looked in trouble at one point as Harry Angel set a blistering pace; but his trademark turn of foot saw him come through to win a shade readily, and still with the potential of better to come he could prove hard to beat here.

Harry Angel (6/1, Paddy Power) is a very smart sort, producing a top-drawer performance to score at Haydock in the Sandy Lane Stakes, beating Second Thought; but Clive Cox’s charge, for all he produced another excellent effort at Ascot, was seemingly beaten fair and square by Aidan O’Brien’s charge in the Commonwealth Cup.

His trailblazing style could well set the race up again for the Ballydoyle runner, but he is entitled to post another bold bid although it is doubtful he’ll best that rival this time.

Intelligence Cross (66/1, William Hill) completes the line-up, and the second of the Ballydoyle runners in the race was used to set the fractions for Caravaggio at Ascot, but he failed to bag the lead and was forced to track Harry Angel through.

Although a decent performer in his own right, winning a Group Three contest at the Curragh last term, he will likely deploy here as pacemaker again for his unbeaten stablemate and he’s unlikely to be involved at the business end as was the case at Ascot last time.

VERDICT


The Tin Man, Tasleet and Limato renew rivalry from their clash at Ascot last time, with Henry Candy’s charge taken to gain revenge on those rivals now he’s had a run back from the injury that saw him disappoint at Meydan.

However the trio of crack sprinters will do well to deny CARAVAGGIO (11/10, Bet365) a seventh success given that rival is in receipt of 6lbs weight-for-age, and Aidan O’Brien’s top-class sprinter could prove hard to beat.

Already a three-time Group One winner, which includes a defeat of Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup last time, the Scat Daddy colt has been described as the fastest horse Aidan O’Brien has trained; he certainly produced a scintillating burst of speed to overhaul Clive Cox’s charge at Ascot having briefly looked in trouble, and still with the potential for better to come he can maintain his perfect record here.

Limato can gain revenge on The Tin Man and Tasleet to follow the Ballydoyle runner home for the silver medal, and on another day would have received the verdict to successfully defend his crown; but Caravaggio looks hard to oppose in receipt of weight from those rivals, and still improving he should take all the beating.

2017 JULY CUP SELECTION – CARAVAGGIO (11/10, Bet365)
The three-day Newmarket July meeting ranks highly amongst Europe’s flat racing festivals and is one in which features the prestigious Group One July Cup over six-furlongs for horses aged three years or older. A capacity crowd of 45,000 routinely flock to the Suffolk track to witness some of the world’s leading sprinters do battle on the famous July course and we have free horse racing tips for the meeting.
Notorious for it’s vibrant burst of fashion, the Newmarket July festival offers a fantastic blend of world class flat racing action as well as a perfect setting for all social occasions. It’s historic surroundings coupled with beautiful scenery makes the widely-regarded home of British horse racing an experience like no other.

The cluster of Britain’s finest training facilities, the Tattersalls sales, National Stud and National Horse Racing Museum rank Newmarket as the leading racing experience in Europe and one which sees people from all walks of life descend upon the area for three days in July.

july cup - the race's rich history

Established in 1876, the July Cup is renowned for being one of the premier sprint contests in the racing calendar and consistently attracts elite profiles from Britain, Ireland, America, Australia and Asia. During the 1971 introduction of the current grading system, the July Cup was originally given Group Two status before being upgraded to a Group One in 1978.

Run on the third and final day of Newmarket’s July showcase, the six-furlong highlight represents the great power and speed of the thoroughbred racehorse in a contest that frequently produces Europe’s champion sprinter at the Cartier Racing Awards each year.

With a recent winner’s list that features the likes of Stravinsky, Oasis Dream, Fleeting Spirit, Dream Ahead and Slade Power, the July Cup stands as one of the leading races in the sprinting division and continuously produces a worthy victor. The open nature of Newmarket’s July setting offers an even playing field for each entrant to perform to the best of their abilities.

july cup expert betting tips

Since 2008, the July Cup has been a part of the Global Sprint Challenge, a series of the ten best sprint races from across Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai and the United Kingdom. A prize fund of $1,000,000 is awarded to the horse that wins three separate Group One’s in three different countries during the campaign with $750,000 going to the respective trainer and $250,000 to the owner. 

The inclusion of the July Cup in such a series shows the standing that the contest has on the world scene. With some of the sport’s leading trainers targeting the July highlight in recent seasons, winning the Group One has become a notable feather in the cap of some of the world’s best handlers.

Not only do you need a horse with an immense level of speed to win the July Cup, but you also need them to overcome the unusual test that the July course at Newmarket presents. Run over a straight six-furlongs, the July Cup begins with a steady downhill run for the best part of five-furlongs before a strong uphill final furlong finish to the line. It means a horse must possess the correct use of balance and pace to be prepared for an uphill run-in that can be underrated by jockeys.

Dream Ahead.

On many occasions you will find front-runners burn too much energy in the frantic downhill charge towards the one-furlong pole, which leaves them gasping for air, and a last ditch resurgence, inside the final 200 yards. It has been reiterated by riders over the past decade that the need to manage the pace efficiently in this Group One is critical to any winning claims. Racing too fast, too early is a frequent habit that many fail to overcome.

The success of the three-year old Dream Ahead in 2011 showcased the necessary tactical awareness needed in a July Cup. Ridden by jockey Hayley Turner, Dream Ahead was waited with in the rear of the field before using his reserved energy inside the last 100 yards to topple those that had raced prominently. 

Despite being regarded as a sprint, it is somewhat crucial that a horse boasts the necessary ability to see out the full six-furlongs. The downhill nature of the track can catch riders off guard as being a lenient test for their horse. However, the fact that Dream Ahead went on to triumph in a Group One over seven-furlongs following his July Cup victory in 2011 proves that an overall mixture of pace, balance, speed and stamina is strongly required to win Newmarket’s six-furlong highlight.

Expert July Cup tips

Read our expert selections for the July Cup at Newmarket.

See All tips
An ever-growing prize fund of £500,000 for the Group One July Cup provides evidence that the overall showcase of Newmarket’s July festival continues to thrive in popularity. Year on year, the country’s leading figures from the worlds of sport, fashion and showbusiness attend the famous three-day meeting making it not only a racing meeting, but a real British event. 

The historic background that the festival boasts offers a unique experience for its spectators that is rarely found elsewhere. 

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